OSHTEMO , Mich. — A suspect is in custody in connection to the homicide of an 18-year-old shot dead during a weekend party at a motel.
The Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office said Nasi Ben-Yaisrael, 18, was arrested on probable cause in the shooting death of DeshontAe Ellis.
Ben-Yaisrael was taken into custody Saturday afternoon at the Red Roof Inn in Oshtemo Township after he was spotted by police when he returned to the scene of the shooting.
Deputies responded to the motel on West Michigan Avenue and 11th Street shortly after midnight Saturday morning to a report of shots fired. They said a fight broke out between some girls at a party before it escalated outside. That's when several shots were fired.
Deputies said Ellis was shot inside a car in the lot. Police estimate as many as 20 people were attending the party. Investigators said they are working to identify everyone.
Police said it's unclear if Ellis was attending the party or was there because he was picking up other attendees.
Friends of Ellis said he was an honor roll student and senior attending Kalamazoo Central High School, but he was also going to soon be a father.
“He has a family on the way, so he made sure he was staying out of trouble and he was going to graduate high school so he could put his family in a better future," Dorian Reed, a friend and classmate, told FOX 17.
Friends said he was a kind person who respected everyone he met and believe early Saturday morning he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“I thought he was more than a friend, I felt he was more like a brother to me," said Victor Taylor, who says he'd known Ellis since the sixth grade. "Hearing that he died, it tore me apart. I really, even to this day, am still wishing it was just a dream. He did not deserve that what happened."
Ben-Yaisrael is expected to be in court on Monday.
Investigators are still urging any of the attendees to come forward with information that could be useful in the investigation.
A GoFundMe page has been created to cover funeral expenses and to support Ellis' unborn child.